• Published 11th Apr 2014
  • 1,204 Views, 56 Comments

Night Guard Tales: Afterdark - Reddling Rain

New recruits for Princess Luna's Night Guard find themselves facing unknown threats that seek to harm Equestria. Working from the shadows, they struggle to give the Mane Six a fighting chance against those who would harm Equestria

Comments ( 8 )

How you ended the story makes it seem like that there will be a sequel?


It is possible, but not likely, that I will do a direct sequel. It is entirely dependent upon my co-writer, and more likely that I will reuse characters from here as either convenient background ponies or give them their own (shorter!) stories.

I can tell you with absolute certainty that I do plan to do something with Nightshade, although the other characters involvement will likely be... limited.

Thank you for answering my question, and I await your future stories!

Afterdark Self-Review

Tl;DR Afterdark sports unique takes how canon characters and you are always given enough lore to understand, but still enough to let your mind wander. However, the story suffers from a world that is effectively dark grey on black morality. The "most good" any character could do is to commit seppuku, and if you don't like a story where there often isn't a good way out, this story probably isn't for you.

Overall: 6.8, D+
Story: 5.5/10 (Passable)
Characters: 7/10 (Mixed bag)
Lore: 8.5/10 (Good)
Grammar/Spelling: 5/10 (Many mistakes, but readable)
Consistency: 9/10 (Good)
Pacing: 6/10 (Sometimes slow)
Bat Ponies: 10/10 (Mangoes)

Afterdark is a story that clearly borrows the best elements of lore related to The Elder Scrolls, World of Warcraft, and various other sources to subvert modern tropes. The ensemble cast of antiheroes (and one villain?) compliments each other to create an action-orientated party that at times lacks heart but never lacks motivation or determination.

Crowning moments of awesome in the story is it's ability to present what seem like obvious dues ex machina and have characters deny or miss this solution due to their personal flaws, useless verbose that wastes your time and is actually a well disguised hint that leave you with fridge horror-- that afterthought of "Wait, oh my god!"

Some characters clearly shined above the others, and the thought put into them really stands out. Web Weaver is a character who at first appears to be your flat Pinkie Pie bat pony of the party--and if she fooled you then she did her job well, because she's really a Cupcakes Pinkie with a great pokerface. While she could easily be an ax-crazy yandere, she manages to stay firmly out in Lawful Evil territory with her fear of punishment if she breaks the rules (Of course, if she can get away with it, then she'll go ahead and do it.

Another character that truly exceeded expectations is Tree Tops, the story's own ensemble darkhorse. Possessing the 3rd most name mentions, Tops becomes a character that we can rely on to give us a clear picture of what is happening simply by observing the madness of others with a look. However, the character rarely verbalizes his full opinion and stays withdrawn, allowing one to draw their own conclusions rather than Tops doing it for you.

However, while many characters may shine in their own special ways, far to many of them appear to lack simple empathy, social skills, and any drop of real charisma at the beginning of the story. Everyone improves in these three departments over time, but by the end of the story the characters still have the persuasiveness of a lima bean. The antiheroes often resort to threatening others in order to get their way (and if that doesn't work, some of them will carry out the threats-- which is more than enough to keep those who might dismiss them on their toes).

A glaring issue of the story that is both an obvious stylistic choice and perhaps it's greatest flaw is the amount of time each character spends speaking.
http://imgur.com/ElhfMnx (Left chart is all characters, right chart excludes Reddling)

Our main character speaks or is mentioned 5200 times. Make no mistake that this is a problem, although also note that "Reddling" does nearly all of the narration for us and is our protagonist. It's normal to expect our protagonist to have more lines than supporting characters-- in fact, they wouldn't be a protagonist if they didn't. There are exceptions of course, but in general you don't deviate from this formula in a novel.

However, the issue arises that the rest of the characters are left seemingly skinny in terms of how much they are used (with the exception of Web). This does actually lead to a dilemma, which is that there are perhaps too many characters. Although they all get their turn in the spotlight, there are still others that possess more. It leaves us wondering if the problems and things faced could have been combined into a cast of 4 or fewer main characters-- does the core story still work without any of them? For instance, Tree Tops and Midnight Tales could have been combined to make a new character-- called Midnight Tales. In fact, of all the characters Midnight is the one that is probably the most wanting and neglected in terms of development-- roles that he could have filled in the story are instead given to characters somewhat better fitted to that niche, but leaving him without his own element.

Bruiser is a character that I'm not sure counted as part of the main cast or simply a supporting background character-- he seemed to have been mostly written out after the 20th chapter, and barely made any notable appearances or accomplishments afterwards.

What really turns characterization into a mixed bag in this story is Reddling. While he serves his role well and is able to firmly establish that this Equestira is not as nice as the one we might think we're walking into, he is very frustrating. He has a tendency to monologue (forgivable, as literally every character sans Bruiser and Tops will monologue if they have the chance to and no one shuts them the heck up). Reddling and co. have plot armor thicker than their skulls (which is setting the bar pretty high) allowing them to cheat death. The only thing that redeems this is Reddling's Nightmare Power, Intuition. but, we don't really know at what point this talent manifests itself, or why such a pragmatic character doesn't abuse the hell out of it.

plot armor thicker than their skulls (which is setting the bar pretty high)


While Afterdark should leave you feeling satisfied, it is clear there is much room to grow and become better.

Thanks for reading everyone, if you got this far. It's been one heck of a ride, and hopefully the next time you see bats, I'll be a better writer. I do not know which direction the story goes from here, but it is likely that Web or Nightshade (not together) will be the star, with Cobalt Flare or Nightshade doing the narration.

More to come on Moth ponies vs. Changelings, Luna's history with Silverfield, and of course The Nightmare. But until then...

10/10 would read again.
As I have previously said on a few other stories, some fictions truly make you want to stay where ever you are and read the story, all just for the pure fact of reading a magnificent work of writing.
Great work, and I'm hoping you make a sequel :) (even if no squel is made, I'll still probably read whatever else you write)

I think that you would have liked it more if you had finished the next 2 chapters, but it's a shame it wasn't your cup of tea.

Hopefully nothing I write in the future will be as dark as this, but c'est la vie.

Thanks for reading so far as you did and leaving feedback. It means a lot, even if you ultimately didn't enjoy it.

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